Quilts are becoming increasingly popular among hikers, backpackers and mountaineers because they are lighter, less bulky and more adaptable than mummy sleeping bags. Unlike a sleeping bag, a quilt leaves your back in direct contact with the sleeping pad (the bottom of the quilt is open) and doesn’t have any zipper. However, it is typically big enough to be partially tucked under your body. The main argument for using a quilt instead of a sleeping bag is that the insulation on the underside of a sleeping bag gets smashed by your body weight and is thus just an excessive weight to carry (note that smashed insulation provides very little warmth). Typically quilts also feature a foot box for better insulation in the feet area and come with straps so that they can be attached to a sleeping pad. Please note that a quilt is always used together with a sleeping pad – unless you want to have your back on the bare ground.
Here are our choices for the top 10 best backpacking quilts based on price, insulation, temperature rating, weight, features, versatility, sizing, and availability (see below for detailed explanations of each criteria.) All of these quilts are made and sold by so-called cottage manufacturers, which range in size from one-man shops to medium-sized businesses that employee dozens of people. All of them produce very high quality products that are significantly lighter weight and better performing than the quilts produced by mass-market gear companies like ENO, Therm-a-Rest, Kammock, Sea-to-Summit, and Sierra Designs.

Phew — yup, when you have no evidence to support a claim like a manufacturer paying for favorable feedback, it is unfair and unwarranted to do so. I clearly said I would consider other quilt manufacturers in the future and I value this article for insight into brands and products I haven’t used. When I bought my quilt a resource like this wasn’t available and the quilt options have skyrocketed. Has my ZPacks quilt served me well, yes. If that simple commentary makes me a fanboy and a paid commentator, I think you need to take a step back — I simply want to speak up for a product that has worked for me. Just in case it wasn’t clear earlier – thank you for this article Philip!
A warm, cozy quilt doesn’t have to be expensive. In general, quilts made with man-made materials, like microfiber and polyester, will be less expensive without sacrificing on warmth, softness or style. If you’re trying to make your money stretch further, choose one in a solid color you love with classic, unfussy stitching that can carry you through rounds of redecorating or work in different rooms over the years. This silky-soft quilt set (it includes shams as well) is oversized, meaning you have a few extra inches all around — a great option to cover the whole bed when you have a taller or pillow-top mattress on top of a box spring. It comes in more than fifteen colors to find the perfect shade for your home.
The MassDrop Revelation Quilt is a ready-made budget backpacking quilt of their own design, manufactured in China on a contract basis by Enlightened Equipment. If you’re not familiar with MassDrop, they sell small batches of a specific product called “drops” over a multi-day period, giving increasingly deeper discounts when higher volumes are sold. While the specs of the quilts they sell can vary from batch to batch, they’re usually one-step down from the custom or on-the-shelf quilts sold directly by Enlightened Equipment, with slightly heavier shell fabrics and lower fill power down insulation. Despite the differences, they’re high quality backpacking quilts and priced to move!
The Nunatak Arc UL is a quilt designed for long distance hikers. It’s available in four different temperature ratings: 40, 30, 20 and 10 degrees, in a wide variety of lengths and widths, with or without a draft collar, with or without a pad attachment system, and several different outer shell and liner fabrics that emphasize breathability or water repellency. One of the unique options available on the Arc UL, is the installation of external snaps that allow you to layer a synthetic quilt with it for cold weather use. The Arc UL is also available with 900 fill power HyperDry goose down, treated or untreated. A basic, regular sized Arc UL 40 weighs 14.8 oz. Price Range: $290.00-$550.00.

The Loco Libre Gear Ghost Pepper is a down quilt made with a unique chevron style baffle, which limits the amount of down shift by catching it in the corners that the baffle forms every time it changes direction. This eliminates cold spots and means that the down stays on top, where you want it, so you can stay warm. The Ghost Pepper is available in a wide range or widths and lengths, color choices, insulation types, and foot box styles. You can even add a sleeping pad attachment system. This can all be very confusing for first time quilt buyers, but they are very patient and happy to explain “the why” before you buy. Some of the of the key options offered are 800 duck or 900 goose fill power water-resistant down, a draft collar, different taper styles, a drawstring vented or closed footbox, and added insulation. A basic Ghost Pepper 40 weighs in at 14.5 oz. Price Range: $154.00-$474.00
Offering a modern take on a traditional pieced design, this popular quilt features lively circular patches of retro prints, and hand-stitched detailing for enhanced depth and dimension. * Made from 100% cotton, including its cotton-flannel fill * Lightweight for all-season comfort and beautiful drape * Hand-quilted for added texture * Quilt and sham are backed in mini-floral print * From bold m...
The Nunatak Arc UL is a quilt designed for long distance hikers. It’s available in four different temperature ratings: 40, 30, 20 and 10 degrees, in a wide variety of lengths and widths, with or without a draft collar, with or without a pad attachment system, and several different outer shell and liner fabrics that emphasize breathability or water repellency. One of the unique options available on the Arc UL, is the installation of external snaps that allow you to layer a synthetic quilt with it for cold weather use. The Arc UL is also available with 900 fill power HyperDry goose down, treated or untreated. A basic, regular sized Arc UL 40 weighs 14.8 oz. Price Range: $290.00-$550.00.

For the record, I am using an EMS 20 degree bag that’s about 10 years old now. I’m going to be very sad when it needs replacing as it has a bunch of features that probably make it a bit heavier, but also make it very adaptive. Things like a removable hood, multiple draft cinches, a slightly wider body so I can turn easily on my side, and the previously mentioned pocket for keeping stuff like a phone, flashlight, etc handy.
How do rate the chevron style baffles on the loco libre ? I have a Hammock Gear with virtical baffles, and while I am a side sleeper the down seems to fall to the edges. I imagine the horizontal baffles suffer similar problems but in the other direction. I wonder what real world practice is really with the different baffle systems especially the chevron style?
While manufacturers often list temperature ratings for sleeping bags by the EN standard (scientific method to determine warmth of a sleeping bag, red.), they rarely do this for quilts. Nevertheless, they do typically list the lower limit temperature (temperature at which an average adult male will be comfortable) which they determine through their own tests.

TEMPERATURE RATINGS: The introduction of standardized sleeping bag temperature ratings by the outdoor industry substantially improved their reliability. Many manufacturers had overstated their temperature ratings by as much as 10 degrees before that standard was introduced. No such testing standard exists for backpacking quilts, so you’re forced to rely on their reputation and customer reviews. When buying a backpacking quilt, the current rule of thumb is to purchase one rated for 10 degrees below your needs to ensure you’ll be warm enough. There is enormous incentive for ultralight quilt makers to quote low gear weights, so read their customer reviews carefully.  Women may want to add 15-20 degrees of insulation because they sleep colder than men due to lower body mass. No one makes women’s specific quilts yet, although there is an obvious need for them.
A warm, cozy quilt doesn’t have to be expensive. In general, quilts made with man-made materials, like microfiber and polyester, will be less expensive without sacrificing on warmth, softness or style. If you’re trying to make your money stretch further, choose one in a solid color you love with classic, unfussy stitching that can carry you through rounds of redecorating or work in different rooms over the years. This silky-soft quilt set (it includes shams as well) is oversized, meaning you have a few extra inches all around — a great option to cover the whole bed when you have a taller or pillow-top mattress on top of a box spring. It comes in more than fifteen colors to find the perfect shade for your home.
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